Today the WGA and Kaplan Stahler Agency signed a negotiated franchise agreement that bans packaging fees and agency-affiliated production companies and, through information-sharing, makes the agency the Guild's partner in enforcing late pay, free work and other contract violations. Kaplan Stahler now joins the list of agencies that can represent members for writing services.
You can read the agreement here. Redlines reflect changes made to the June 27th proposal the WGA sent to all unsigned agencies. As a reminder, the most-favored nation clause means any franchised agency may choose to adopt the terms of this agreement, in lieu of those it previously negotiated, if it so chooses.
One modification the Guild agreed to addresses concerns that Kaplan Stahler raised about meeting their fiduciary duty to follow an individual client's directives on disclosure of financial information. In today’s agreement, the agency will be required to provide writers’ contracts, invoices and deal memos to the Guild unless a writer files a written objection. The agency will send any such written objection to the WGA, as well as notify the WGA each time it finalizes a contract, deal memo, or invoice for that writer client. The WGA would then have sufficient information to enforce Working Rule 3, which says members are required to file their contracts with the Guild within one week of receiving them.
Other changes negotiated with Kaplan Stahler include a five-year term instead of a three-year term and two additional named arbitrators.
Our goal remains to move the negotiation process forward with all unsigned agencies.
WGA-Agency Agreement Negotiating Committee
Chris Keyser, Co-Chair
David Shore, Co-Chair
Meredith Stiehm, Co-Chair
Deric A. Hughes
Tracey Scott Wilson
Patric M. Verrone
David A. Goodman, President WGAW, ex-officio
Marjorie David, Vice President WGAW, ex-officio
Aaron Mendelsohn, Secretary-Treasurer WGAW, ex-officio
Beau Willimon, President WGAE, ex-officio
Jeremy Pikser, Vice President WGAE, ex-officio
Bob Schneider, Secretary-Treasurer WGAE, ex-officio
WGA Statement of Purpose: Why Agencies Must Change
Our agents work for us. Every dollar they make must be generated as a percentage of the money we make. That is what it means to be our representatives and our fiduciaries. Agency-based studios and packaging fees make a mockery of that and are in violation of the agencies’ ethical and legal obligations to writers. We have taken too long to demand that these practices end. But the persistence of a corrupt system does not make it right. And putting things right does not blow up the business. We do not owe our agents their wealth; they owe us their loyalty. That is what we pay for. In a complex, changing, yet immensely profitable time in our industry, writers need true allies, not deeply conflicted ones. It is for this idea—simple, old-fashioned and un-revolutionary—that we stand—and for which we come together as a Guild again today.